Pit Bull Question – Phoenix Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist
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We have a 2 year old pitbull. He was left in a crate in our front yard about this time last year. He had a rough life and NO training before he came to us. He gets daily hours of training, socialization (he goes everywhere with us, work and all) and exercise (he loves to swim and run). He’s a great dog he listens well, and not aggressive, However. We just moved to a house with much more wooded areas and wildlife. He has since killed 2 chickens, attempted (and came damn close) to killing a deer, and many many squirrels. More concerning… he was in the bathroom with me while I showered and killed our car that was in the window. Now he’s been around cats, and showed no interest before and he’s great with small dogs. This cat did definitely taunt the hell out of him, but it’s still really alarming especially since we have 6 and 8 year old daughters. We are thinking of getting him fixed and maybe getting a shock collar to deter him from the wildlife. I am also thinking maybe he just needs more exercise, and hikes may be perfect for training him to not be so stimulated by the wildlife. Any thoughts or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.
Thank you for contacting me. First, you should not get an electric collar. You are not a skilled dog trainer, and you will traumatize your dog, not train your dog. You will make things much worse. You should be working with a professional dog trainer, a very good one, to help you. There are a number of issues here that might be brewing, but I can’t tell without seeing your dog and knowing more about your lifestyle. Second, it is normal for dogs to kill prey animals, from chickens all the way up to deer. Unfortunately, you are allowing him to hunt, so he is getting better and better at it. Even cats can be seen as prey animals, or can become the target of a fight if the home environment is in any way stressful. There is a reason why the cat was taunting your dog, and why your dog killed the cat, and that needs to be determined. Maybe something is going wrong in the way you are training and managing your dog. Dogs are pack oriented predators, some more than others, regardless of the breed, so you need better supervision of this dog, not more punishment. Third, having him fixed won’t solve any of this. Do it for medical reasons, or to prevent him from breeding, but don’t place your faith in castration as a way of solving any of this. Lastly, none of this indicates a dog that will be aggressive towards people, even children. Even so, all dogs, regardless of their age and breed, should be supervised around kids. Accidents happen. Kids under 10 years of age cannot be trusted to be alone with any dog, and the parents need to be around, just like you’d supervise a toddler. It sounds like you have a great dog that needs more supervision, better containment when unsupervised (crate or kennel), and professional training for the dog and for the owners.